After I got out of the hospital, my mom and I drove there (over an hour) every few days for my out-patient therapy. Although I sure didn't see it, my therapists thought I had made significant progress. So one day when I went down, they asked me to talk with another young mom who had suffered a stroke. Apparently strokes are not that uncommon in new moms.
Now at the time I was still in a wheelchair, had my feeding tube, my face was totally disfigured (still is but not like it was then) and still carried cloths around because I could not even swallow my own saliva. This girl was walking to and from therapy, eating and drinking the yummy hospital food (try not being able to eat and even that...mmm), and she looked totally normal. And they wanted me to encourage her.
But after watching her for a few minutes I realized that she could not speak and was using made up signs to get her point across, her walk was very unsteady and someone had to be with her, and she seemed scared. I knew that feeling well. I still do. She was just starting a looong and difficult journey, one that I was only slightly further along.
What Could I possibly say that would help? I wasn't even doing well physically or emotionally myself, but my therapists seemed to see that she was in a very dark place and that I had started, already, to come out of that dark place.
So they introduced us and I offered what encouragement I could. I told her that it really does get better and to keep fighting. I knew she was scared, I was too, but if I could make progress she could too. Short and sweet.
She just started to cry. I could tell by her expression that what I had said was what she needed to hear right then.
Her family and the therapists thanked me but it wasn't really my thanks to receive. The Lord knew what she needed to hear.